The New Year promises to bring excitement to River Jones Music, as the label just added five bands from around the nation to its roster. From Portland comes Bike Thief and Alameda, from Austin comes the Technicolor Hearts, from Seattle comes Sophia Duccini and from Tempe comes local music scene fixtures Dry River Yacht Club.
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"If someone would have said that an Arizona label would have been signing bands from Seattle and Portland a few years ago, people wouldn't have believed it," River Jones said on his blog.
"For many years, people from Arizona would jump ship and go to Portland for music. Now, we've got space, and with the entire Arizona music community thriving and growing over the past five years, it makes it so bands from Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle can come here and get attention much faster than trying to get attention in these larger music cities."
You can bet these groups will be making stops by local venues soon, so take note. River Jones likes to work fast. After all, he signed Sareena Dominguez, Lauren Farrah, and now Bike Thief within weeks of meeting them, and he's been working overtime with his newest additions. Let's take a look at what River Jones Music will be showcasing in 2013.
Dry River Yacht Club
You probably already know Dry River Yacht Club, so we won't get too much into it, but if you're unaware, the nine-piece gypsy folk outfit regularly plays around the Valley mixing theatrics with unconventional instrumentation, including bassoon, violin, tuba, accordion, and bass clarinet.
If you're into Grizzly Bear or Elliot Smith, Portland's Bike Thief might tickle your fancy. "All geographic stuff aside, I signed Bike Thief because this EP is great," Jones wrote on his blog. "Erica Shafer, who used to play bass for Michelle Blades, posted the Bike Thief EP on her Facebook page. Erica made the whole meeting possible between the band and the label. She also played bass on the Bike Thief EP. Three days after first speaking, Febian Perez [singer of Bike Thief] and [I] were ordering merchandise, making tour plans, and putting each other in touch with friends."
Like their (now) label-mates Dry River, Portland's Alameda "blends orchestral arrangements with modern instrumentation," but also draw their influences from early Low and the baroque pop of Nick Drake. "Alameda" is Spanish for "avenue lined with trees" but also an Elliott Smith song title and a city near San Francisco.
Austin boasts many great bands (not to mention SxSW) so it isn't surprising to learn dreamy synth-pop duo Technicolor Hearts is from the Texas capital. In their short history, Technicolor Hearts (who call themselves "an art project for lovers") have shared stages with Zola Jesus, Chairlift, The Intelligence, Dana Falconberry, Love Inks, Dark Dark Dark, and Emily Wells.
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And last but not least, is singer/songwriter Sophia Duccini from Seattle. A classically trained pianist, Duccini taught herself guitar, soon learning banjo, mandolin and harmonica. She says she's inspired by Lisa Hannigan and the Swell Season.